Forget Paris, Milan and New York and shift your gaze in the direction of Antwerp, Belgium where this fashionably cool city boasts not only cutting edge designers, but also architectural tours that lead a path to the Art Nouveau district of Zurenborg.
Anybody visiting a city from which both J.R.R. Tolkien and Ozzy Osbourne sprang should be prepared for a dose of cognitive dissonance, and Birmingham (or "Brum," as it's affectionately known in the U.K.) delivers.
I am in the L.A. International Terminal, staring in disbelief at posters of Kandinsky, Sam Francis and Howard Hodgkin on the walls of McDonald's. I take it as a good omen for my mad dash to six cities in three countries.
The Belgian Red Star Line Museum -- a European counterpart to Ellis Island -- is looking for emigrant memorabilia and stories. If you're a Red Star Line descendant, the museum would love to hear from you.